Date of Submission

Spring 5-9-2017

Document Type



Doctor of Education



OIP Defense Chair

Dr. Elan Paulson


student engagement, organizational change, authentic leadership, change process, cultural change, school culture


This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) examines how formal leaders (including principals and vice principals) and informal school leaders (such as influential teachers) can provide opportunities for greater engagement in the learning process for all students by changing the culture (Schein, 2010) of an increasingly diverse Alberta school. Educational leaders beliefs and assumptions about the purpose of education and the roles of teachers and students will impact their beliefs about student engagement (Vibert & Shields, 2003) in both teacher-led curricular and extracurricular activities. Several recent surveys, including surveys in Alberta schools (Learning Bar, 2016) and larger surveys in the United States (Gallup, 2014), demonstrate that only 50% to 55% of students in Grades 5 to 9 are engaged with school.

The strategies provided in this OIP guide leaders through the change process using a modified version of Cawsey, Deszca and Ingols’ (2016) change path model. The solution to increasing student engagement seems to rest in adopting strategies influenced by liberal thought (Raven, 2005) and critical theory (Freire, 1971, 1998) in contrast to the prevailing conservative ideologies (Gutek, 1997) espoused by many of the school staff and community. This OIP recommends school leaders use authentic leadership strategies (George, 2016) to guide a collaborative team through the change process.

The significance of this OIP lies in recommendations provided for empowering the entire school community in a cultural change to improve student engagement. This OIP will be of interest to school administrators interested in creating cultural change.